Pyr, 2014. Cover art by Raymond Swanland.
Possessed by a ghost that feeds on death ...
The undying assassin Ahjvar the Leopard has been captured by the Lady of Marakand, enslaved by necromancy to be captain of her Red Masks. His shield-bearer, Ghu, a former slave with an uncanny ability to free the captive dead, follows Ahjvar into the war-torn lands of the Duina Catairna to release him, even if that means destroying what is left of Ahj's tormented soul.
Deyandara, the last surviving heir of the Catairnan queen, rides into a land ravaged by disease and war, seeking the allies she abandoned months before, though they have no hope of standing against the army led by the invulnerable Red Masks of Marakand and the divine terror of the Lady.
In the city of Marakand, former enemies ally and old friends seek one another's deaths as loyalists of the entombed gods Gurhan and Ilbialla raise a revolt spearheaded by the Grasslander wizard Ivah, the shapeshifting Blackdog, and the bear-demon Mikki. The Lady's defences are not easily breached, though, and the one enemy who might withstand her, the Northron wanderer Moth, bearer of the sword Lakkariss, has vanished.
"The action continues unabated in this dashing, magic-filled sequel to The Leopard. ... Johansen has found a winning combination: the modern epic fantasy penchant for a cast of thousands and the golden age feeling of a tale of Conan or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser dueling with gods gone mad." ~ Publishers Weekly